“Life in Likes”: Children’s Commissioner’s Report Published

The Children’s Commissioner has published a report on the effects of social media on 8-to-12-year-olds. In October and November 2017, the Children’s Commissioner conducted 8 focus groups with 32 children aged 8-12 to understand the impact of social media on the wellbeing of this age group.

The ‘Life in Likes’ report examines the way children use social media and its effects on their wellbeing and explores how younger children use platforms which social media companies say are not designed for them.

  • While 8-10s use social media in a playful, creative way – often to play games – this changes significantly as children’s social circles expand as they grow older.
  • The report shows that many Year 7 children are finding social media hard to manage and becoming over-dependent on ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ for social validation.
  • Children become increasingly anxious about their online image and ‘keeping up appearances’ as they get older. This can be made worse when they start to follow celebrities and others outside close family and friends and this group grows significantly upon starting secondary school. Their use of platforms like Instagram and Snapchat can also undermine children’s view of themselves by making them feel inferior to the people they follow.
  • Children feel social pressure to be constantly connected at the expense of other activities – especially in secondary school where the whole class often have their own phone and are on social media.
  • Children worry about ‘sharenting’ – parents posting pictures of them on social media without their permission; they feel that parents will not listen if they ask for them to take photos down

The findings of the research are summarised as:

‘How I use social media’

  • Across all ages, the most popular social media were Snapchat, Instagram, Musical.ly and WhatsApp.
  • Younger children had less routine around when they accessed social media, while older children started to get into the habit of using all their social media apps multiple times a day, and for some, it had come to dominate their day.
  • Children knew how to cheer themselves up or calm themselves down using social media, from getting funny Snapchats from a friend to watching videos on Instagram.
  • Social media allowed children to be creative and play games, two things that appealed to children from a very young age.

‘How I stay safe online’

  • Parents and schools had successfully ingrained messages in children about online safety from known risks such as predators and strangers.
  • Children were less aware of how to protect themselves from other online situations that could affect their mood and emotions.
  • Online safety messages tended to be learned as ‘rules’, rather than general principles children could apply to new or different contexts.

‘My friends and family’

  • Younger children were particularly influenced by their family’s views and usage of social media, and parents may be unaware of how their use of social media affects their child.
    • Younger  children often complemented their social media use by using their parents’ devices to access their parents’ Facebook or Twitter accounts.
      • Parents sometimes gave children contradictory safety messages and unknowingly exposed them to unsuitable content.
    • Many children felt uncomfortable and bothered by their parents posting pictures of them on social media, yet felt they could do little to stop it.
  • Children learned how to do new things on social media from their older siblings, but were also put off by things that their siblings had experienced.
    • In some cases, children worried about their siblings’ behaviour online, such as excessive use and ignoring safety messages.
  • Social media was important for maintaining relationships, but this got trickier to manage at secondary school, where friendships could break down online.
    • Children used social media as a tool to maintain friendships, and they recognised the value of face-to-face interactions for more serious conversations, like discussing worries and resolving arguments.
    • Younger children were more likely to see unkind comments from strangers on apps like Roblox, whereas older children, who were communicating with a greater number of people on group chats, faced issues and confusion around the blurring of ‘jokes’ that were posted publicly.

‘Growing up on social media’

  • Children are conscious of keeping up appearances on social media, particularly when they start secondary school, and identity and seeking peer approval become more important.
    • Despite talking about the importance of ‘staying true to yourself’ and being authentic on social media, girls were worried about looking ‘pretty’ and boys were more concerned with looking ‘cool’ and having the right clothing.
    • When children started to follow celebrities and people outside their close family and friends, many became aware of how they looked compared to other people on social media, and felt that comparisons were unattainable.
    • Children felt good when they got ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ from friends, and some Year 7 children were starting to become dependent on them, using techniques to guarantee they would get a high number of ‘likes’.
    • Children started to see offline activities through a ‘shareable lens’ based on what would look the best on social media.
  • Social media could inspire children and help them learn about new things.
    • Some children developed new aspirations about what they wanted their future to be like and copied things they saw on social media.
    • Some children actively gathered information on social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram, and were exposed to ‘news’ via celebrities and ‘explore/discover’ pages.

Conclusion

  • Social media was perceived as having a positive effect on children’s wellbeing, and enabled them to do the things they wanted to do, like staying in touch with friends and keeping entertained.
  • However it also had a negative influence, for example it made them worry about things
    they had little control over.
  • For younger children this was more related to their families’ use of social media, whereas for older children this was more strongly linked to peers and friendships.

Recommendations

  • Schools need to broaden digital literacy education beyond simple safety messages, to develop children’s critical awareness and resilience and understanding of algorithms, with a focus on the transition stage from primary to secondary school.
  • Parents need to be informed about the ways in which children’s social media use changes with age, particularly on entry to secondary school, and help them support children to use social media in a positive way, and to disengage from it.
  • Teachers’ knowledge about the impacts of social media on children’s wellbeing need to be improved and schools should encourage peer-to-peer learning
  • Social media companies need to recognise the needs of children under 13 who are using their platforms and incorporate them in service design or do more to address underage use.
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Posted in 2018, Children’s Commissoner, e-Safety, Online Safety, Online Stress (FOMO), Parents, Positive Healthy Relationships, Primary, Research, Schools, Self-esteem, Social Media, Social Networking, Survey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Department for Education PSHE and RSE consultation: get students involved

Under the Children and Social Work Act 2017, the government committed to making Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) statutory in all secondary schools, including LA maintained schools, academies, free schools and independent schools (and relationships education in all primary schools). The Secretary of State also has the power under this new Act to make the whole of PSHE education statutory at the same time, depending on the results of a process of engagement and consultation.

The Education Secretary has launched a ‘call for evidence’ on PSHE and RSE; it is  open until 12 February 2018 and provides a real chance for schools and young people to have a voice in shaping the future of PSHE education. The consultation can be accessed here and is open to schools, teachers, parents and students to submit their views.

The Department for Education (DfE) is keen to hear the views of young people as part of this consultation on PSHE education and RSE; to support schools the PSHE association has produced a free pack of lesson materials. This content will help schools to gather and submit young people’s’ views to the consultation and contains full instructions n how to respond. Please note if you are submitting evidence on behalf of your student’s’, enter your school’s name instead of your own name.

Posted in 2018, Children and Young People, Consultation, Department for Education, Positive Healthy Relationships, PSHE, RSE, Safeguarding, Schools, Secondary | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Safer Internet Day 2018 Education Packs now available #esafety #SID2018

To help schools, youth groups, police services, libraries and wider run activities for Safer Internet Day on the 6 Feb 2018, the UK Safer Internet Centre have created Education Packs and complementary SID TV films tailored for 3-7s, 7-11s, 11-14s, 14-18s and parents and carers, along with some guidance for educators.

To support the theme for the day, the videos and activities focus on online relationships and digital empathy.

3-7’s

7-11’s

11-14’s

14-18’s

Parents and Carers

  • Education pack for parents and carers includes:
    • Factsheet
    • Conversation starters
    • Family pledge card
    • Fun things to do
    • Quick activities
    • Social media activities
  • SID TV Parents and Carers

Teachers and Educators

Make sure you check out the other content for SID 2018 and register your support!

Posted in 2018, Childnet, Colleges and sixth forms, Independent Schools, Online Safety, Parents, Primary, Resources, Safer Internet Day, Schools, Secondary, Teachers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Online Safety Briefing: Term 2 2017-18 #esafety

This is the 2nd edition of the Kent Education Safeguarding Team’s Online Safety briefings covering Term 2 (November-December) 2017-18. The aim of these posts is to help Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) in educational settings keep up to date with of some of the emerging online safety issues and research which may be of interest.

The following links are not endorsed, controlled or promoted by Kent County Council. This briefing should not be shared or forwarded directly to pupils or parents due to the sensitive and potentially distressing nature of some content.

Before sharing content that names specific apps or websites, we recommend DSLs access the following :

National Updates

Articles and Research

General

Computer Misuse, Data Protection and Information Governance

Gaming and Gambling

Peer on Peer Abuse 

Professional Conduct 

Reliability and Trust

Self Esteem and Mental Health 

Sexual Abuse and Grooming

Social Media and Technology

Educational Content

Teaching Materials, Tools and Videos

Articles

Parent/Carer Content

NCA CEOP #WhoIsSam Campaign Video

 

Additional links to articles and resources can also be accessed via the Kent Online Safety Twitter feed.

Posted in 2017, Briefing, e-Safety, Early Years, Independent Schools, Kent, Online Safety, Primary, Safeguarding, Schools, Secondary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Research ‘Young People and Sexting — Attitudes and Behaviours’ Published

SWGfL – as part of its work in the UK Safer Internet Centre – with Plymouth University, The Office of the eSafety Commissioner (Australia), and Netsafe (New Zealand) have collaborated on a research programme on young people’s experience of sending and sharing nude and nearly nude images, otherwise known as ‘sexting’.

The purpose of this shared research programme is to better understand the:

  • prevalence of sending and sharing of both solicited and unsolicited nude or nearly nude images or videos, and young people’s influences and motivations for this behavior.
  • Experience and ability of schools to respond to instances of sexting

The UK research, conducted by Prof Andy Phippen adopted a mixed methods approach, incorporating a quantitative survey based element and a qualitative discursive element, the aim being to bring the most effective value from the different approaches.

  • The report concludes that the practice is more common among young people in the UK than in the other two countries, with around 1 in 2 of those who took part in the UK survey saying that they know someone who shared, received or had been asked for nude pictures or videos in the last 12 months, compared to around 1 in 5 in Australia.
  • Around 60 – 70% in the UK knew the practice could be illegal, however, discussions with focus groups of young people highlighted that while they are generally aware of the legalities, they did not believe that is enough to prevent someone from sending a nude.

David Wright, Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre and SWGfL said: “Technology is a part of young people’s everyday lives, and while it brings with it many benefits, it also exposes them to a number of potential risks and harmful behaviours. The sharing of intimate images is one behaviour that we believe is particularly important for us to understand. The purpose of this research was to explore the prevalence among young people of sharing intimate images, and moreover, what drives this. The UK Safer Internet Centre is committed to understanding and responding to this issue and our Professionals Online Safety Helpline is on hand to provide members of the children’s workforce with advice and support on the matter.”

Andy Phippen, Professor of Social Responsibility in IT at Plymouth University said: “This research shows how important it is to include a youth voice in this area – we have listened to what young people are telling us, and they are telling us they need better education, and support not criminalization when they are pressured into sending these images.”

Key Findings

  • While adults and the media often use the term “sexting” to talk about sending nude or semi-nude images or videos, young people use a variety of descriptions (Nudes, Dick Pics, Naked Pics, Nudies)  for this practice. This reflects the range of contexts surrounding this type of behaviour.
  • Young people perceive that sending and sharing nude or semi-nude images or videos is a more common practice than it actually is.
  • While a small minority of young people are sharing this material themselves, there are a range of ways that they experience the broader effects of this practice.
    • In the last year around 1 in 5 of young people received a nude image or video they didn’t ask for, and the same amount had been asked for an image of themselves.
  • Young people’s experience of this practice is not the same, particularly when focusing on gender.
    • Across all three countries more girls received images without requesting them than boys. They were also asked more frequently for images of themselves; In Australia, girls are almost 3 times more likely to receive requests than boys (21% of girls vs. 8% of boys) and the most likely source of request to share an image is from a stranger.
  • Most young people are not enthusiastic about the influence or impact of these practices on their lives, and are aware of the potential negative consequences.
    • Overall, young people disagreed more strongly with statements that suggested that this practice was not a problem. In all three countries, around three-quarters agreed that people should be punished for threatening to share images.
      • Only 1 in 10 young New Zealanders thought that sharing images was a good way to explore themselves as they were growing up. A similar percentage of the young people surveyed in the UK saw nothing wrong with engaging in the distribution of nudes.
      • Discussions with UK youngsters suggest that some might be flattered if asked for a nude by someone they liked and nearly 70% said that a factor in sending nudes could be receiving compliments.
      • Most (72%) Australian teenagers disagree that they often feel pressured into sending those sorts of images. UK and NZ children were more indifferent with 30 – 40% suggesting that there was pressure to send.
      • Almost 70% of UK respondents said pressure can be a factor in the decision to send an image.
      • However, just over half in NZ, and three-quarters in the UK, think that nude, or nearly nude, pictures or videos are sent to seek attention, gain social approval, or because of peer pressure.
  • In the UK and Australia around 60 – 70% knew the practice could be illegal.
    • However, discussions with UK young people highlighted that while they are generally aware of the legalities, they did not believe that is enough to prevent someone from sending a nude.
    • Young people were asked what adults can do to support young people in this area; the most popular responses were:
      •  listening (76%)
      • not judging (74%)
      • making sure there are confidential places to get help (73%).

Key Findings: Considerations for Education Settings

  • Attitudes [from young people] are still mundane, education is still sparse and tends to be in an ‘output only’ form, and knowledge is still developed by peers.
    • Boys are still more likely to volunteer images, and girls are more likely to send as a result of requests and pressure, and the impact on the victim in the event that an image is spread depends on their gender, popularity and resilience. Girls are far more likely to receive abuse as a result of being the subject of a spread image, whereas most boys will laugh it off. 
  • The majority of ‘online safety’ education adopts a prohibitive approach; this results in a shallow and limited understanding of both the behaviour and its resulting consequences.
    • Young people are told by teachers and/or external speakers, that taking nudes is illegal and if they do it they ‘could be in a lot of trouble’…
    • …One girl said that they had experienced an assembly a couple of years earlier when a member of the police came in and, in her words, ‘scared us to death’ about the trouble they could get in if they took nudes. Nothing about protection from harm if an image was spread, the focus was very much on the originator of the image and their potential criminalisation…
    • …When asked whether this talk worked, the girl said it didn’t because she was aware of peers who did share nudes….However, what they had all decided, as a result of the talk, was that there was no way they would ever tell an adult if a friend was experiencing abuse, coercion or exploitation as a result of sharing a nude… it’s little wonder that young people suffer in silence when dealing with some highly problematic and harmful fallout as a result of sending a nude.
  • Young people are not provided with relevant, up to date and pragmatic education around issues such as self-generation.
    • Therefore, is it any wonder they engage in risky behaviours and think the way to engage in a relationship is to share images of their genitals or ask for indecent images of their peers?’
  • Victim blaming is  one of the most concerning areas around self-generation, and one which seems to have changed very little  from earlier research.
    • Victim blaming follows a typical pattern of someone sending an image to one person, then the recipient shares that image, and the victim then receives abuse from the wider community because they are a ‘slut’ or a ‘slag’ for sending the image to this one trusted individual.
    • There is very little focus on challenging the behaviour of the individual who spread the image further, just the person who took the image.
    • In the survey data almost 75% of respondents said the person responsible for the image is the person who took it, even though in many instances that image might have been generated through peer pressure, harassment or coercion.

 

Posted in 2017, e-Safety, Online Safety, Peer on peer abuse, Positive Healthy Relationships, Research, Schools, Sexting, SWGfL, UK Safer Internet Centre | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

CEOP and Brook publish ‘Digital Romance’ report

CEOP and Brook have published new research which aims to explore and understand young people’s everyday use of technology within their relationships, and the ways in which the pleasures, harms and risks of interpersonal relationships may be influenced by technology.

Digital Romance was led by researchers Dr Ester McGeeney (Brook) and Dr Elly Hanson (NCA-CEOP), the research took place between January and May 2017 and used a mixed methods approach involving an online survey, in person focus groups and one-to-one interviews.

The project was motivated by the desire to evolve online safety education by providing an in-depth insight into young people’s views and experiences. Much of the focus of online safety work has been narrow – exploring the risks of online communication such as the unsafe sharing of personal details, the loss of control of material (especially images), and the facilitation of abusive and bullying behaviours. Research does not always recognise the positive role of digital technology in young people’s lives and the complicated ways in which young people experience and negotiate risk.

The report hopes that a deeper understanding of  the positives as well as risks will enable all agencies to deliver relevant, nuanced education that speaks to young people’s day to day experiences.

Key Findings

  • The study involved 2,135 young people aged 14-24
    • Interviews took place with 10 young people aged 14-25
    • 13 focus groups took place involving 69 young people aged 11-20

Young People’s Views and Experiences on ‘Digital Romance’

‘Flirting’

  • 84% have flirted at least once or twice online and 87% face to face.
  • 25% of young people report that they flirt online a lot and 23% report that they flirt face to face a lot.
  • Flirting is a nuanced practice with lots of different styles and levels
    • Often simply about fun, relaxation and connecting
    • Technology is ideally suited to the codes and ambiguity inherent to flirting
    • It may also afford more control – but also, for some, more pressure
    • In general face-to-face flirting was seen as more emotionally risky as well as beneficial

Nudes (or ‘Sexting’)

  • Children stated numerous reasons for sending ‘nudes’: fun, intimacy, confidence, lack of confidence, validation, pressure
    • 34% sent a nude/sexual image to someone they were interested in
    • 20% sent to their friends for fun
    • 28% felt pressurized to send one of themselves
    • 7% felt pressurized to send one of someone else
    • 26% received 1 of someone they knew sent by another
    • 9% sent one of someone they knew to someone else

Meeting partners online

  • 38% of survey participants had met someone online who they started seeing
    • (55% of trans young people)
  • 5% of survey participants reported that they had never met their partner face to face

‘Catfishing’

  • 6% of survey participants have met someone in person who they first met online who wasn’t who they said they were.
    • 2.6% had experienced this ‘quite a few times’ to ‘a lot’
    • Significantly more boys and more gay young people were affected

Relationship pressures

  • High levels of unwanted ‘checking up on’ via tech (16% have asked their partner to stop)
    • Technology can be conducive to jealousy, as well as cheating and its discovery

Break ups

  • 84% had been broken up with via messaging services
  • 43% had been broken up with in person
  • 25% had been ‘ghosted’
  • 25% had been broken up with via phone call
  • 7% had been broken up with via a social media status change

Post break up

  • Breaking up is hard – and tech can freeze emotionally difficult moments in time
    • Technology also facilitates the playing out of preoccupation and ambivalence
      • 72% report staying friends with an ex on social media
      • 54% report removing them from all social media accounts
      • 54% report using social media to see what their ex is up to
      • More girls report both removing and checking up on ex

Online Safety Education: Young People’s views

  • Most participants had received education about online safety & relationships.
    • Young people reported they were aware of online risk and adopt a range of practices to manage it
  • Online safety education was favourably rated, however it was sometimes  viewed as too narrow or negative

Vulnerabilities & blind-spots – content not covered through online safety education

  • Desire for popularity and status (linked to insecurity)
  • Dealing with break-ups
  • Peer pressure
  • Gendered expectations
  • Perceptions of their being a ‘Hook-up’ culture

What support would young people like to help them enjoy positive relationships online/offline without harm?

  • 87% would like online self-help for young people with relationship difficulties
  • 78% would like support via SRE through online modules
  • 78% would like more tips and guides about using tech safely
  • 77% would like peer mentoring
  • 73% would like more programmes for parents about supporting their children to have good relationships

What they would like… from adults

  • Non-judgment and understanding about ‘digital romance’
  • Supportive relationships and positive ‘spaces’
  • Impart knowledge and experience about both positive and negative relationship
  • Address LGBT experiences

What they would like…from other young people

  • Be nice
  • Call out bad or hurtful behaviour
  • Support and sharing

What they would like…from teachers

  • Teach media literacy
  • Build confidence
  • More time and space throughout education on SRE
  • Promote positive relationship norms and challenge negatives
  • Facilitate peer-led learning
  • Support systems
  • Honesty and respect

What they would like…from parents

  • Close bonds
  • Less threats and punishment; build trust
  • Everyday conversations
  • Differing views on monitoring and restrictions – reflective of
    the complexities and nuance around this

Suggested implications

  • Specific attention to relationship skills and knowledge throughout a child’s education; not just a few  ‘ad hoc’ lessons
  • Make use of interactive technology to deliver some PSHE – e.g. online modules
  • Promote positive teacher-child; parent-child; and peer-peer relationships
  • Build holistic self-esteem and confidence in young people
  • Support young people in supporting others
  • Develop and promote a ‘cultural change’ by building positive school cultures

Suggested themes for schools to address within PSHE

  • Bystander empowerment
  • Media literacy
  • What good relationships look like; online and off
  • Promoting equality and respect – e.g. tackling harmful gender norms
  • Attention to ‘pockets of risk’ e.g. break-up period

 

Posted in 2017, Brook, CEOP, Positive Healthy Relationships, PSHE, Research, RSE, Schools | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Online Safety at Christmas: 2017 Template Letter and Useful Links for Parents

As Christmas time approaches, with 92% of 5- to 15-year-olds now online (Ofcom 2017), it’s likely that many children and young people will be looking forward to receiving technology based gifts under the tree this year.  This means the festive period is a great opportunity to highlight simple tips to help parents and carers make safer choices when buying new devices. It may also serve as a timely reminder to encourage parents to consider how they can help their children  to keep safer online during the festive period, and beyond.

To help support educational settings the e-Safety Development Officer has created a template letter for Designated Safeguarding Leads, headteachers or managers to adapt and share with their communities.

Additional links to share with parents/carers at Christmas include:

Educational settings may also find it helpful to adapt or share these parent/child contracts from FOSI which can be given to children alongside their new devices.

Settings may wish to use the letter and/or links in its entirely, or use the content within existing communication such as the school/setting newsletter or social media channels.

  • The 2016 edition of this post is available here.
  • Our colleagues at LGfL DigiSafe also have helpful advice and links for schools here.

We would like to wish all of our subscribers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Ashley Assiter, e-Safety Development Officer and Rebecca Avery, Education Safeguarding Adviser (Online Protection)

Posted in 2017, e-Safety, Early Years, Independent Schools, Kent, Letter, Online Safety, Parents, Primary, Safeguarding, Schools, Secondary | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

BBClaunch new programme to enable young people to tell the difference between real and fake news

The BBC is launching a new programme supporting secondary school pupils to identify real news and filter out fake or false information.

From March 2018, up to 1,000 schools will be offered mentoring in class, online, or at events from BBC journalists. The initiative will be delivered by the BBC’s media literacy project School Report – a collaboration between BBC Academy and BBC News.

All schools will have free access to online materials including: classroom activities; video tutorials; and an interactive game developed by the Aardman studios where the player gets the chance to find out what it is like being a BBC journalist in the heart of a bustling newsroom.

A ‘Reality Check Roadshow’ will tour the country and local schools will be able to nominate their own ‘Reality Checker’ pupils to attend one of a dozen regional events. Some will be invited to present their own Reality Check reports on BBC School Report News Day in March 2018.

James Harding, Director of BBC News and Current Affairs, says: “Never has it been so important for young people to develop their critical thinking and to be news literate, and have the skills to filter out fakery from the truth, especially on their busy social media feeds. BBC News, as the most trusted news provider and home of Reality Check, is ideally placed to bring this project to schools and young people around the country.”

Find out more about the project here.

If you are a secondary school, sixth form, or youth group working with 11-18 year olds and would like to get involved and be kept informed of the project, you can register here.

Posted in BBC, Critical Thinking, Digital Rights & Responsbilities, e-Safety, Fake News, Online Safety, Reliability, Resources, Schools, Secondary | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Online Safety Alert – Social Media Concern: Information for Kent Schools

The following advice has been written by the Kent Education Safeguarding Team with approval from the Kent Police POLIT team. A version of this post has already been sent via email to Designated Safeguarding Leads registered with the Education Safeguarding Team area offices.

We have received a number of reports from schools relating to a video of child abuse  which is being shared through a variety of social media channels. This issue predominantly involves Secondary schools, however Primary schools or Early Years settings could be affected where children have older siblings.

Police are aware of the video and  safeguarding action (link updated Jan 2018) has been taken to identify and protect the children involved. However upsetting, conflicting and inaccurate information is believed to be circulating, which is leading to panic and distress. Schools need to be vigilant to such concerns, but we would encourage you to take a proportional and informed response.

If this issue has not directly affected your school:

  • Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSLs) and/or Headteachers may choose to send general reminders to pupils and parents about online safety. Kent schools and settings can contact the Education Safeguarding Team for further advice.
  • Template letters and resources are available through the Education Safeguarding Team Blog;
  • Be aware that sharing specific information regarding the video may be distressing to adults and children; Headteachers should consider if it is appropriate and necessary to do so.

If a concern has been reported at your school:

  • Staff may be the first to be informed of the concern; ensure they are all aware of the need to report safeguarding concerns, including online safety issues, directly to a DSL so they can take appropriate safeguarding action.
  • If pupils have received the video they should be supported in reporting the concern directly to the police via CEOP and/or Kent police via 101.
    • Following this, pupils should be supported in deleting the content (if appropriate) and to block and report any accounts sharing the video to the social networking site or app involved.
    • The Think U Know and Safer Internet Centre website have information on privacy settings and reporting methods
  • If pupils are distressed by the content and/or are considered to be vulnerable, consideration should be given to speaking directly with their parents, ideally in discussion with the pupils involved. DSLs may also potentially need to refer to or inform other agencies; for example if any of the pupils who receive the video are at risk or are known to early help or social care.
  • Schools may wish to wait until they have received a response from Police/CEOP before speaking with the wider pupil group; however, if it is felt to be appropriate or required to do so, we’d suggest speaking with pupils sensitively on a small group basis, such as in tutor groups and not via a large assembly as this could lead to safeguarding issues.
    • The school may wish to mention there has been a concern reported locally whereby upsetting content is being circulated online. We would not advise sharing the name of possible apps involved, possible names of young people involved or specific details about the video with pupils, as this could be misleading and distressing, both for your own pupils and for the families of those involved. Additionally specific information could make pupils curious which could result in the content becoming more widely shared or accessed.
    • Pupils should be reminded of how to respond if they are sent any upsetting or concerning concern online, such as speaking to a trusted adult, reporting to CEOP and/or the website/app involved.
    • Pupils should not be blamed for receiving this content, assuming it has been sent to them without a request and they have not copied or forwarded it on. We would suggest being clear with pupils about the potential legal issues of forwarding, copying or sharing illegal content, however would advise doing so with caution as if children are afraid of being criminalised or punished, this it could prevent them from coming forward to share concerns now and/or in the future.
    • It’s likely this approach could lead to disclosures; this would need to be managed by the school, such as having at least two members of staff present.
  • Following this, schools may decide it is appropriate to share information with parents; if so, a template letter is available from the Education Safeguarding Team on request.
  • Schools can also report this concern directly to CEOP, the Internet Watch Foundation (depending on where content has been shared) and/or to Kent Police via 101.

Kent Schools should contact their Area Safeguarding Adviser directly or the Kent Online Safety Team if they have any queries, or wish to discuss this issue further.

Posted in 2017, Alert, Letter, Online Safety, Schools | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

BBC launches ‘Own It’ website to help under-12s navigate online risks #esafety #onlinesafety

The BBC have launched a new website to help 9-12 year-olds navigate “the day-to-day pressures and dilemmas of life online”.

The site, Own It, features video clips and content by presenters and vloggers talking about issues including cyberbullying, privacy and online safety.  The site is called ‘Own it’, because it’s there to help children and young people take control and be the ‘boss’ of their online lives, and to assist them in developing “confidence and resilience” when dealing with online dangers.

The ‘Own It’ website is aimed at children and young people aged 9 to 12; an age group particularly affected by the day-to-day pressures and dilemmas of life online. The site offers young people practical guidance on what they say they want help with as well as  case studies, articles and discussion points.

The site covers:

  • The basics
  • Take control
  • It’s personal
  • Don’t panic
  • About us

The website is being delivered in partnership with a  range of organisations in the field of child internet safety as well as expert advisors in the field.

Schools may find it helpful to share the ‘Own It’ website directly with pupils such as via the school website or newsletters. Teachers may also find the content to be a useful stimulus for classroom discussions with KS2 and KS3 pupils, or for use within peer education work.

In a speech to the Children’s Global Media Summit in Manchester on the 6th December 2017, Lord Tony Hall, the director-general of the BBC said:

While children have the technological know-how to access websites and use social media, there is no  real evidence that their emotional development is any more advanced today than that of their grandparents. This gap makes young people vulnerable…

…Instead of thinking about how we might restrict children’s activities in the digital world, we need to focus on how we build a world that gives them freedom; that equips them with the skills they need to make the most of that freedom, and to express themselves in the digital world.

Posted in 2017, BBC, CBBC, Children and Young People, e-Safety, Independent Schools, Online Safety, Primary, Safeguarding, Schools, Secondary, Social Media, Social Networking, Teachers, Vlogging, Young People | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment